SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are set to visit the fire zones as massive wildfires continue to burn in California wine country.
They're scheduled to attend a community meeting Saturday afternoon in Santa Rosa, a city hit hard by the deadliest and most destructive series of wildfires in California history.
Brown has remained in Sacramento this week, where he issued emergency declarations and secured federal disaster relief.
His office said Friday that with some conditions improving and firefighters making progress on a number of wildfires, he will visit the areas affected by the blazes.
The fires that began Sunday night have claimed 35 lives and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses. About 100,000 people are under evacuation orders.
Fire crews made progress this week in their efforts to contain the massive wildfires in California wine country, but officials say strong winds are putting their work to the test.
The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says winds picked up to 20 mph (32 kph), with gusts up to 40 mph (64 kph), early Saturday. They pushed the fire closer to several communities, forcing new evacuations for about 400 homes.
Dean Vincent Bordigioni said he woke up at 3 a.m. to see flames bursting on the ridge above his winery 7 miles (11 kilometers) east of Santa Rosa. He says things "went to hell last night," and firefighters have "got a good fight going on."
CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant says fire crews have spent days digging defense lines to keep the flames from spreading to residential areas. But he says officials are concerned the winds will blow embers and ignite new fires.
Winds kicked up overnight, forcing new evacuations for about 400 homes as wildfires continue to rage in California's wine country.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday the affected areas include the Oakmont retirement community that was evacuated earlier in the week when fire ravaged portions of Santa Rosa.
CalFire spokesman Jonathan Cox says the fire also reached a sparsely populated part of Sonoma, a town of 11,000, and has burned some structures.
The fires have caused an unprecedented amount of death and destruction in the state, with officials reporting 35 dead and 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed. Those numbers make this the deadliest and most destructive series of fires California has ever seen.
Although firefighters made progress in containing the fires Friday, officials say the winds on Saturday are testing the work they accomplished.
Follow the AP's complete wildfire coverage here.
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